There are many kinds of professions on Obafemi Awolowo University campus; however, none is as important as Town Gboro (Campus Shuttle) Driving. This profession deserves worthy recognition, hence this essay. Unfortunately, as a campus shuttle driver on OAU campus, no one appreciates you. So many ungrateful students do not understand that you are doing them a great favour. However, out of the benevolence of my heart, I have decided to carry out some research and in so doing discovered several secrets for all those in the Town Gboro Driving profession, both existing and aspiring.
This is so important that it comes first: you must never have change. What do I mean? I mean you must never have currencies in small denominations. That is a taboo! All students must have change. You are looking at your hand and wondering what to do with those small denomination naira notes, right? Well do nothing. Do not give it out even when you have to give commuters change. Still insist that you do not have change.
Do you not get it? The less change you have, the less bundle of notes you will have in your hand. Imagine instead of 10 naira and 20 naira notes, you have 100 naira and above, the notes in your hand will not be much. As such, people will consider you an unfortunate person, as if you have not made any money since you began. Moreover, as you know, no one wants to associate with an unfortunate person. The formula is simple: the more 10-naira and 20 naira you hoard, the more people consider you a successful person and board your bus.
This issue is very important so I am going to spend more time on it. I seriously wonder why anyone would expect you to give him or her change, no matter how little. After all, their president, yes, their president promised them change and gave them nothing. Instead, we hear that their president is sharing change in large denominations with people who are close to him. So if their own president who owns the central bank of Nigeria (at least he controls it, even if he does not own it) cannot give them change, why should they put the pressure on you, a common Town Gboro Driver. Baba, follow the presidential pattern: keep the change to yourself and those close to you.
You must drive very slowly and the roof must leak!
Now, the kind of buses you put on the road is very important due to the Nigerian situation. Every day we hear of many unpleasant events like road accidents. However, as the selfless town gboro driver that you are, there are certain things you can do to ensure you are not part of the problem.
The first is to make sure your bus is not fast. Look at it this way; they say speed kills. Invariably, going slow will ensure you live long. Now, before you are accused of being selfish, remember that the lives of your commuters are also safe, all this from simply going slow. I know some ungrateful students will clamour and bicker at your slow speed. They will tell you they are running late for classes and test and you should at least go at the normal speed. Do not mind them. ‘Na small pickin dey do them.’ As the older one, you know what is best for them. Kindly retain your driving speed of 20km/hr. Besides, what right do they have to make you go fast? OAU arguable has one of the worst academic calendars fraught with strikes, protests and illegal mid semester breaks. If they cannot make their school go faster, or at least to go at the normal pace for universities, they have no right to make you go any faster.
Wait, did they say they are running late for classes and tests? Well, no one told them to live off campus, they did so on their own violation. As such, they should suffer for it. Their mates are crammed into overcrowded hostels on campus with neither constant electricity nor potable water and stinking toilets. Rather than ‘enjoy’ with their mates, these ‘oversabis’ decided to get accommodation off campus. That is stark betrayal! It is better they all stay together, even if it amounts to 20 occupants per room. After all, they are here to study and not to enjoy simple amenities like electricity and water.
Remember I mentioned that these students are ingrates. Well, they will always look for an opportunity to complain. Imagine, you are helping some students get to campus for the meagre fare they pay and it starts raining. You know what I am going to say, right? Yeah! They will complain about the leaking roof/chassis and makeshift windows. Imagine! I wonder why they should blame you for the little bucket load of water dripping on them. If they have any problem, they should take it up with God. Yes, God! After all, the God they prayed to gave them PDP for over 8 years and now the partially deaf president with a wife that belongs to the other room. Their God should also take care of the rain. Or what do they expect you to do, do you have power over the rain? Abegi!
What is even worse is that they will tell you to fix your bus. Imagine, they are telling you what to do! Do they mean you are dumb or inconsiderate or only fixated on the money? Or even worse, all of the above. God forbid! You are a responsible driver. Even the school management is yet to carry out a full-scale rehabilitation of the hostels on campus after so many years. So it is not just you. In fact, you never knew that your bus was leaking until it began to rain. And by the time you wanted to fix it, the rain was gone. So you continued your business and the rain came back. As I said, the problem is with the rain and not the maintenance of your bus.
Zebra crossings are meant for zebras
On some locations on campus, you will see drawings in white and black on the road. They are called zebra crossing and for good reason. Have you heard of zebras? They are animals that behave just like horses. Do you know what that means? It means they run very fast. As such, whenever you see a zebra crossing, just know those that are going to cross the road must do so very fast. However, most times, you will see students walk into the road; some of them even ‘catwalk’. Trust me, I understand the frustration you feel in times in that. I mean, you are eager to help some students at the next bus stop get to their destination and you are being delayed. ‘Educated’ students who are ‘catwalking’ and ‘dogwalking’ when they are supposed to ‘zebra-running’ are delaying you. What nonsense!
How do you deal with this? I am sure, by now, you know of all the locations on campus where zebra crossings are designated. What you have to do is simple: as soon as you approach any of those spots, step on the pedal and zoom away. Do not stop an inch for those recalcitrant students. And if you chance upon a zebra crossing where students are already on the road, honk! Yeah, honk very loudly. Express your exasperation at all cost. In fact, gradually encroach into the zebra crossing so that others coming will know you don’t have time to waste.
Let me quickly add another thing. Like other landmarks on campus, zebra crossings are also pick up points. As such, when you approach a zebra crossing and your bus is yet to be filled, simply shout “Town, gate, town, gate…” some of the students crossing will quickly run and board your bus. Let me state clearly: this is the only circumstance in which you are to stop before a zebra crossing. Even then, it is because you are trying to help these hapless students, nothing personal or selfish about it.
I understand that you are eager to get back to work so I am going to stop here. Take care of yourself and do not give a damn about those students. ‘Just help their condition with a problem.’ cheers!
(Egedegbe Gracious is an art student of the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-ife and a member of the OAU Peeps Team.)